When we moved to Alaska, nearly 15 years ago, there was one aspect of the change which hadn't been on the radar until we arrived.
Back in the St. Louis area, we enjoyed the baseball Cardinals, the Rams (they were doing well, at the time), and the Blues. We took professional sports teams for granted; they're everywhere, right?
Except ... not so much.
Alaska didn't then, and still doesn't, have any big-league sports teams. The closest thing was the Alaska Aces, a farm-league hockey team in Anchorage.
Now, after ongoing financial woes, the Aces will soon be no more.
The state's only professional sports franchise, a three-time winner of the ECHL's Kelly Cup, announced Thursday morning that it will cease operations after 14 seasons on the circuit two steps below the NHL.
I grew up watching, and occasionally attending, Cardinals baseball. Not a rabid fan, and never the type who could tell you the shoe and jumper sizes the players wore, still I enjoyed the games. I even attended a game the week before we moved, having the privilege of seeing it from a private box at the old Busch Stadium in its final season.
Sidebar: I attended a game in '66, in that stadium's inaugural season. Watched Orlando Cepeda hit a grand slam against the Mets.
Anyway, while never been a hockey fan, I feel badly for the local fans who never miss an Aces game. I feel your pain, folks.